The trauma of a crash can affect all riders, from novices to seasoned vets. Knowing when to return to the road after an accident can be a difficult decision and a number of factors should be taken into consideration.
Whether it was a minor spill or you were involved in a serious accident, it’s important to see a doctor to determine the full extent of your injuries. Also keep in mind than some symptoms may not manifest immediately, so taking some time off your bike might not be a bad idea.
After you’ve been treated for your injuries, it’s important to let your body heal completely before hopping back in the saddle again. A case of road rash, weak joints or aching muscles may not seem too bad, but they could impair your ability to ride safely. Once obvious wounds heal, you still my need more time or even physical therapy before riding again.
Be certain that you are strong enough to maneuver your bike, have a good grip for steering and braking, can shift properly, and have a full range of motion in your head and neck. A slight blow to your head (even if you were wearing your helmet) can cause changes in your vision, hearing, and balance. No matter your injury, it’s always a good idea to ask your doctor for an evaluation to determine whether you are ready to ride.
For some riders, getting back on their bike is a no-brainer once their body has healed, but what if the thought of riding fills you with dread? Rest assured, it’s perfectly normal for accident victims to be fearful after a crash. You may also feel guilty, embarrassed, or even doubt your riding abilities.
Head back to school
If you’re feeling apprehensive, consider taking refresher course. You know how to ride, but may be wondering if you’re lacking in certain skills after an accident. Taking classes can ease you back into the idea of riding again and help you regain confidence in your ability to control the bike.
Psychological symptoms following a crash may range from mild anxiety to full-blown Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). According to the CDC, It’s normal to have a wide range of feelings and emotions after a traumatic event. You might experience fear and anxiety, a lack of focus, sadness, changes in how well you sleep or how much you eat, or crying spells that catch you off guard. You may have nightmares or be unable to stop thinking about the event. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have post-traumatic stress disorder.
However, if you have these disturbing thoughts and feelings for more than a month, if they’re severe, or if you feel you’re having trouble getting your life back under control, talk to a health care professional. Getting treatment as soon as possible can help prevent PTSD symptoms from getting worse.
Take it slow
According to motorcyclist and psychologist Brenda Bates, “Gradual exposure is the best way to begin to ride again.” Once you’ve decided to ride again, she recommends taking it slow and not being pressured by others. Having the support of friends and family members can also be helpful. Bates tells riders, “Set up small goals for yourself and do not proceed to the next until you are comfortable with the last.”
If you’re struggling with insurance companies and medical bills after a motorcycle accident due to someone else’s negligence, let an experienced motorcycle attorney help manage your claim and relieve your stress. Our sponsor, Elk & Elk can help. Get in touch with a member of our team by calling 1-800-ELK-OHIO. We’re here 24/7/365.
“Riding Right: Getting Back in the Saddle After An Accident” by Brenda Bates, Women Riders Now, 2009.